The Antiques Diva Toma Clark Haines – Brown is Back

July 22, 2014

Trends in interior design dictate the price in the antiques trade. When white washed woods are in fashion, prices rise on shabby chic and French country pieces. Meanwhile, when design doesn’t dictate traditional English mahogany pieces, the prices plummet.  When the price is low that’s when it’s time to buy – cashing in on the bargains.

For the last decade brown woods have been on the back burner and English antique dealers have suffered as a result. Traditional chest of drawers and cupboards that sold in years past for over 1500GBP (Great British Pounds) are going for a song at antique stores, flea markets and warehouses across the UK selling for a fraction of the price of the former glory days. Chalking in below 500GBP (often with prices as low as 200 and 300 pounds) New England dealers and designers sourcing antiques abroad are on alert that now is the time to buy better quality brown pieces before they start to rise.

And rise they are. Antiques expert Judith Miller of the Millers Antiques Guides has noted that with its unusually sturdy, highly functional design and low prices, brown furniture will soon be back in fashion.  As founder and CEO of Europe’s largest antiques touring and sourcing company The Antiques Diva® & Co I’ve noticed this same trend in what our clients are buying when they come to Europe on buying tours.  More and more clients are requesting traditional English furniture and while the prices are still low – as more buyers start flocking to England the increased demand will drive the prices higher once again. Whether or not they’ll reach their former peak of the 80’s and 90’s is yet to be determined. For New England designers- where the relationship between traditional American and English antiques has been tightly woven throughout time- this upwards trend is of key local importance.

While dark woods were once the posh habitat of the older generation, believe it or not, the younger “Ikea” generation is helping to drive this trend in buying dark woods. Young buyers want affordable home fashions but they don’t want the same flat-packed design they’ll find at their neighbors house next door. They can buy antique brown furniture for similar – or often lower -prices than in box stores and at the same time are able to express their individuality through unique one-of-a-kind finds.

One of hottest most relevant movements in antiques is the Antiques Young Gun Awards Many think the antiques world is dry, dusty and staid and certainly not a place for career driven and entrepreneurial young people but the future of the antiques trade is alive and well.  Hosting a competition open to anyone under the age of 39 who makes their living from the world of antiques, this organization receives hundreds of applicants each year.

This 4th of July, 2014 the Antique Young Guns announced their newest awards winner in London at a roof top party at Alfies Antiques Market, James Gooch of Doe and Hope Antiques received the coveted title of Antique Young Gun of the Year. Gooch is one of the young trend-setters in England who has helped to create a demand amongst the design world for more brown furniture. With an aesthetic that is dark and moody, dramatic and downright sexy, Gooch’s style is a concoction of old world money and faded gentility. Being both academic and playful at the same time, Gooch has artfully mixed in the odd Georgian and Victorian pieces with Regency and Italian giltwood amongst eclectic naturalia, taxidermy, and medical oddities offering seriously stylish inventory at exceedingly accessible price points. And in doing so Gooch has done what some said couldn’t be done. He’s made dark woods fashionable reminding buyers why brown is coming back.

james gooch

James Gooch photo courtesy of Antique Young Guns

doe and hope antiques

Doe & Hope

doe and hope antiques

Doe & Hope

James Gooch and Toma Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Writer, Speaker, Trend Forecaster, Entrepreneur , and CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co European Tours. An American who called Boston home in the mid-90’s, Clark Haines has lived overseas fourteen years – five years in Paris, four in Amsterdam and currently resides in Berlin.